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No Whiners Please! This was the bumper sticker I saw on the back of a large sail boat last night after sailing. At first I thought the phrase was directed at the owner’s kids who disliked sailing with the captain every weekend. Then I realized maybe the captain’s message was much broader in scope. Certainly, we all know someone who fits nicely under this category. We do distance ourselves from them either because they are simply annoying or because we just do not have the energy to deal with the nuances of their person agitation.

We as a lot find our work life stimulating and challenging. Office politics and upward struggle are the norm and we comfortably handle these obstacles. However, there are those coworkers who simply unnerve us by their incessant complaints related to the latest ongoing work issue. Whether the coworkers’ complaints are justified or not, the coworker gets labeled as a whiner! In reaction, the coworker becomes alienated and ostracized by his or her peers in the office. Sometimes whiners find themselves together with other like-minded whiners, “and there is nothing wrong with that, they need someone to whine to. But it is our basic collective intuitive reaction to immediately disassociate ourselves with whining coworkers that caused me to pause and think twice about the bumper sticker.

What if the whiner was bitching about something that was vitally important to the business, but coworkers chose not to listen and labeled him as a whiner. In my experience, this happens every day and more often than you think. The consequences of ignoring the complaints of the complainer could be enormous, such as a failure to address internal complaints involving fraud or misconduct, resulting in loss of revenue or assets. Other examples involve internal complaints of discrimination that go uninvestigated and the employee is later fired and files suit. No investigation means no defense in employment lawsuits. Whiners can be actual whistle blowers and their tirade can alert management to serious concerns in the company. So, think twice about whiners, they may be on to something important.

No Whiners Please! If you would like more information please contact our employment attorneys in Connecticut and New York, Carey & Associates PC at 203-255-4150.

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